It was after a long day at church, hectic errands on my way home, and the typical Silicon Valley, road-rage-enciting traffic, that I walked through the door of my home in a “grumpy” kind of mood. I was tired, frustrated, and mentally drained from my day, but I still had a whole other kind of work day to start, one that usually revolves around climbing on dad, catching up with Sara, and helping feed, bath, and bed down the kids. I was not prepared for work that evening.
My wife and I fought, showed our frustrations with the kids, and no one was happy. Sadly to say, it doesn’t always take a bad day at work for this to happen. Sometimes I just come home and expect to have time to relax and veg out. Sometimes I don’t want the kids climbing all over me and asking me to read them books or watch a cartoon with them. But what they really want is to delight in the presence of their father.
All my kids want is to enjoy the presence of dad, who has been gone at work all day. They want my attention, not because they are attention seeking, energy sucking leaches, but because they love me and they know that I love them in return. We have a heavenly father who is much the same. The Father delights in us (Numbers 14, Psalm 35, Proverbs 3, Isaiah 62, etc.). It is His dadly duty to delight in His children.
Sometimes, we see spending those precious times with our kids as a duty. We see it as obligation, part of the natural process of begetting the next generation. We reduce it to a biological imperative. I mean, we aren’t polar bears; we don’t eat our young! But it is so much more than that. We have so much more to teach them than their colors, how to read, and how to change a flat tire. We must teach them to delight in the presence of their Father by delighting in being present with them. We need to change duty into delight.
How do we do that? Come home ready to work. They don’t care if you’re dead tired or frustrated. They weren’t with you at work and they don’t understand the pressures of you providing for the family. All they see is that dad comes home and ignores them. If it takes you sitting in your car, parked in your own garage, praying the day away, asking for supernatural strength to have a tickle fight, than do it. If it takes chugging a Gatorade and carbo-loading, do that too. Your brief moments with them are too important to let slip by because you were too tired, cranky, or busy to be a human Jungle-Jim (pun intended).
Delight in your children the same way your Father delights in you.